Lady Hero Batten is pledged to marry the Marquis of Mandeville. She's pleased with this arrangement, as he seems very honorable, good looking, and is a friend of her brother, the Duke of Wakefield. She understands that marriages are arranged for advantageousness, not love.
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publish Date: February 1, 2011
From the author's website:
Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .
Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?
Griffin Remmington (Lord Reading), the Marquis' younger brother, is a rake of the highest order - when Hero first runs into him, he's in flagrante with a married woman. Of course she's not impressed, and they go their separate ways....until the Duke introduces them.
Hero later hears from her aunt that Reading seduced the Marquis' late wife, and so she resolves to stay away from him. Except that he comes across her in a shady section of town and refuses to leave her alone lest she is attacked. Hero is in this area of town because she is patroness for an orphanage, and she's checking on the orphanage as well as the construction of a new orphanage. Reading tells her he will accompany her whenever she goes to the orphanage, or he will tell her brother she's making these trips - she knows her brother would not approve.
We learn that Reading is in this section of town because he runs a gin still, and he is checking on that. Gin is becoming an epidemic in London, families are broken, people are dying. Competition between the gin distillers is deadly and fierce.
As Hero spends more time with Reading, she learns he is not the man society thinks he is - and she's falling in love with him....
I have different thoughts about this book; I loved Hero and Reading's story. It was so romantic and I loved how Ms. Hoyt brought them together slowly and tentatively, then when they did get together they were explosive. Loved it.
The gin storyline was a bit much but the additional complication between Hero and Reading left me reading faster and faster, wanting to see how they were going to resolve their issues.
The part of the story I didn't get was the inhabitants of the orphanage. I did not read the first book in this series, Wicked Intentions, and I think maybe I should have. I could not keep the characters separate: I was thoroughly confused by the ghost, the sailor lost at sea, the baby who got mysterious gifts, and the strangely named employees.
All in all though, the romance between Hero and Reading was riveting and I could not put this book down - I wanted to see how these two were going to get their HEA and was very pleased with the results.
This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.